3F UL Gear Backpack Review

3F UL Backpack Review

Hi folks. This week we’re bringing you a review of this backpack from 3F UL Gear. Over the last few years, we’ve seen this pack cropping up more and more as an underrated gem. So we thought it was about time to give you our take on it. We’ll get to the performance soon enough, but first, let’s take a look at the specs.

Overview & Specs

Backpacks weigh a lot more than you might think. It’s surprising how many people spend hours slaving away trying to shave a few grams off their gear list, then don’t spend any time focusing on the pack they’re carrying it in. What initially attracted me to the 3F UL Gear backpack (apart from my great experience with their ‘Solo’ tent) was lighter weight at a competitive price

Capacity & Materials

This pack has a capacity of 40 + 16 Litres. The +16 seems to refer to what you can fit in the webbing straps on the outside of the pack. This, along with the ability to stick your sleeping mat in where the back meets pack, means you get a lot of storage bang for your buck here. 

The backpack is made from 210D Nylon, and is waterproof. However, we always take backpack waterproofing with a pinch of salt. In our experience, waterproof can often just mean water-resistant. It’s always best to store your gear in dry bags inside your backpack in any case, to make sure your stuff stays dry. 

3F UL Gear Backpack Review
The 3F UL Gear Backpack

Weight

Here’s what I love most about this pack – it weighs just 900 grams! We’ve seen big-name western brand frameless backpacks that are 5X this price but still weigh in at over a kilogram. Not only that, but there’s plenty of potential for modders to tweak this pack and save more weight. It comes with a tonne of straps and doohickeys which aren’t all necessary in my view.

3F UL Backpack Review

So, here’s how the 3F UL backpack has fared up on the handful of walks I’ve used it on so far:

Comfort, Load & Quality

The biggest worry with a frameless backpack tends to be that the load will be uneven, and make it uncomfortable to carry. However, in my experience, this tends to be a non-issue as long as you’ve packed the bag well. And so it was with this pack – it was perfectly comfortable as long as the gear wasn’t packed in a lopsided way. 

But here’s the thing: I noticed a serious comfort level change when I partially inflated this Naturehike sleeping pad and stuck it in the back of the pack (photo below) for a walk. Wow. The pack went from being “this is fine” to carry, to being downright comfortable.  Since sticking this pad in the back to act as a frame, I’ve never gone back. 

In terms of the build quality, it was everything I’ve come to expect from 3F UL Gear. Not a stitching fault to be seen, and it looks very rugged and durable based on what I’ve seen so far.

3F UL Gear Backpack Review
It’s crazy how comfortable this thing is with a sleeping mat as the frame!

Fiddlage

You know what really bothers me about backpacks? Fiddlage. Fiddlage is defined (by me) as how much you have to fiddle with various straps, pouches and doohickeys to get your pack open, closed or packed up. And in fairness, the 3F UL could use a bit of minor improvement here.

Although I’ve seen worse offenders, it definitely feels like this pack could lose some straps without compromising functionality. At times it can feel a bit over-engineered in general. But having said that, it’s easy enough to pack and unpack snugly, so it’s a small grumble – especially for the price.

The Water Test

So, remember what we said when it comes to waterproofing on a backpack? Take a pinch of salt, and put everything you hold dear inside dry bags. But the thing is, when I ran this bag under a tap, the results pretty much blew me away. It didn’t matter how much water I poured on this thing, it all just slipped right off it. Try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to get the inside of the pack wet at all. 3F UL have certainly over-delivered there! 

3F UL Gear Backpack Review
The 3F UL Gear Backpack, from the back

Verdict

So… what’s the conclusion after my first few uses of this 3F UL Gear Backpack? I love it! It ticks pretty much every box in terms of price, quality, waterproofing, and comfort. My only minor gripe is the crazy number of straps and doohickeys, but it doesn’t really interfere with the function of the pack. And plenty of people will just see that as an excuse to go modding the pack! 

Even for those who don’t like frameless packs, we’d urge you to give this backpack a try, using a sleeping mat as the frame. We’ve certainly never looked back since we bought it!

Well, that’s all for now, folks, I hope you enjoyed this 3F UL Gear Backpack Review. Got any tips on using this backpack? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more tips, tricks, and gear reviews from the trail. Bye for now!

Find us on Facebook Subscribe to our newsletter


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.